China donates M1m worth of food aid
THE Chinese government yesterday handed over food aid worth M1 000 000 to Lesotho through the World Food Programme (WFP) at the Food Management Unit (FMU) in Maseru.speaking at the handover ceremony, Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister, Tlohang Sekhamane, said the donation was made in response to a clarion call by the Lesotho government for assistance following a poor harvest precipitated by the changing climatic conditions.
“Lesotho, like many other countries, is struggling with the challenges posed by climate change,” Mr Sekhamane said.
“However, the government of the People’s Republic of China has heeded our call and stood with us in a time of need.”
He also thanked the Chinese for their support to the government of Lesotho over many years and for the long standing cooperation between the two countries and their people. The minister added that the food aid would be given to needy communities.
“I wish to assure you that this donation will be put to good use under the capable leadership of the FMU,” said Mr Sekhamane.
On his part, China’s Ambassador to Lesotho, Hu Dingxian, said the two countries had enjoyed friendly and cooperative relations for many years, with the Asian nation actively supporting Lesotho in its efforts to address the challenge of food security and reducing poverty.
“I have been informed that WFP has distributed the food into the Nutrition and Disaster Risk Reduction Programmes which will cater for about 30 000 Basotho,” said Ambassador Dingxian.
“I believe this food donation batch will help those vulnerable children and needy groups reduce their pain and suffering, overcome their temporary difficulties and contribute to the strengthening of food security in Lesotho.”
United Nations World Food Programme Country Director Mary Njoroge also lauded the government of China for being “a great partner to Lesotho”. She said the WFP was proud to be associated with the Chinese government “that cares about the future of Basotho and a future which is free of hunger, malnutrition and poverty.”
Ms Njoroge said through the support from China, the WFP was also able to strengthen its role in reducing nutritional challenges such as stunted growth which she said created negative socio-economic effects.
“I am happy to say the WFP ‘s contribution in the fight against stunting which affects children below the age of two and is irreversible when they are above two years, is yield- ing some positive results,” Ms Njoroge said.
“The recently released Demographic Health Survey shows that stunting has reduced from 39 percent to 33 percent.
UNWFP Programme Country Director Mary Njoroge (front second from right) stresses a point as Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho Hu Dingxian (front right) and Foreign Affairs Minister Tlohang Sekhamane (front left), look on at the Food Management Unit warehouse yesterday